A question of trans sport
On TV recently the question of equality in sport has risen it head – are trans women and men the same as ‘born women and men’ and should they compete as equals?
For the understanding of this piece I will refer to mother born males and females as ‘born men and women’ and trans men and women as trans
I am a ‘born woman’. I have a trans gender styling and make up studio in St Albans, Herts. I get up close and a little personal with my clients and have learnt a thing or 2 – you may not agree with what I write but please give it some thought
The first thing to be said is physically trans women and men are not the same as ‘born women and men’ – it’s a fact – they can however be altered to appear almost identical to their opposite chosen sex and appear 100% convincing
But bodies both male and female differ greatly in its original god given product – some men are taller, shorter, fatter thinner, large framed, small framed, big boned etc. – so when you take one of these bodies and transform it to its opposite gender you will find that some of the original physicality’s cannot be altered producing physical differences that can advantage and imbalance the playing field. ie if you’re an average height trans woman you’re most likely a foot and 1/2 taller than the average female and your feet may be 3 sizes larger than theirs - that may give you a great advantage in sport. Males shoulders are wider which is great for tennis and swimming. Equally on the flip side you may be disadvantaged as a trans male competing as you may be smaller in stature when competing with born males.
If you happen to be petit male to female or a large framed female to male, then the differences in ratio of bodily size are drastically reduced – but on average this is not the case
Secondly there is the question of muscle mass – men have more muscle and even when they have undergone hormone treatment they as females still carry more muscle than ‘born women’. Trans males are less able to physically gain as much muscle mass and strength as ‘born males’ even with hormones. This stems from our genetic make up
Then there is the question of aggression – men tend to be more aggressive than females due to testosterone but after female hormone treatment this lessens – ‘born women’ can have higher levels of testosterone if they are regularly competitive so on balance I think trans and born females can be almost equal on this matter. However, trans men have to take testosterone and could possibly add to their testosterone levels giving them a possible advantage over ‘born males’ in certain sports and scenarios
Next there’s the difference in bodily function – trans women do not go through monthly cycles – they do not have to endure the hormone swings, bloating, temperature changes, sluggishness, pain and discomfort, changes in appetite and sleep patterns associated with periods as well as the physical drain monthlies can cause women – this definitely can be an advantage on the playing field if you never have to endure menstrual cycles and compete against females who do and may be suffering from them during competition
The physicality of the male chest and the female bust makes a difference to the power and strength it can produce – females can rip their bust if they perform some sports and exercises to strengthen the chest area which does not occur in the male physiology making the male chest area stronger even if it has had implants inserted as these do not affect the muscle
On the reverse side ‘born women’ may have the advantage of being lighter in bone density and smaller framed with smaller hands and feet which can be a plus in some female sports i.e. gymnastics
To be fair to both ‘born men and women’ and ‘trans men and women’ I think the only fair playing field is to have trans male and female categories in all sports
Transgender males and females believe their souls their spirit their very being was born into the wrong body and make changes to that body to become their true selves. But the body they were born into was designed to fulfil a purpose of being male or female – the fundamental basis of the body cannot be changed – you may tweak it, add to it, take away from it but the basic chassis cannot be reinvented or exchanged. It’s not discrimination it’s a fact. It would be equally as discriminatory to born men and women to allow trans men and women to compete as equals with them considering the differences.
Sport by its nature is built around the physical being and it’s this very being where real physical differences can be found which cannot be altered and need to be fairly considered for everyone trans and non-trans
It’s not about who you think you are and you are striving to be – it’s not about acceptance – it’s simply a physical thing that cannot be avoided and we must all accept deal with and move on – then we can all enjoy sport and competition as we did at the London Olympics